Will Durant Typescripts, Letters and Ephemera collection
Date Published: 1933 to 1975
Binding: No binding
Will Durant was American writer, historian and philosopher, best known for his mammoth work The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant and won a Pulitzer Prize for this work. He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy (1926), described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy". Famous quote of his… History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice.
The collection contains 18 items dating from 1933 to 1975, specifically 2 typescripts, and 10 letters, 1 photo, 1 booklet, 1 postal cover, 2 notes, 1 bookplate.
Two typescripts (tts):
• 2 signed tss., “I. Hesitations”, each 2 pp., n.d., signed by both Durants. One ts. with a holograph correction.
10 letters (3 Autographed Letters Signed (ALS) and 7 Typed Letters Signed (TLS):
• ALS to Halliwell, 1 February 1941, with envelope, thanks him for his pithy letter, “feels very deeply the charm and wisdom of the Church”, tried to see Halliwell at Caldwell a few months ago.
• ALS to Ken Browne, 18 October 1951, from Will Durant, thanking him for his letter and appreciation, has no photo, sends his regards to Mrs. Browne.
• ALS (draft unfinished, verso advertising walnuts in San Jacinto, Calif.) in Will Durant’s hand addressed Dear Daisy & Edmund, , thanking Daisy for her wonderfully thoughtful letter, providing the information, he’ll pay the rent, their grandson Jim will be staying with the Durants before he goes back to college.
• 2 TLS to Pauline Wolinski from Will Durant, 18 September 1937 and 3 September 1941, re declining to do something due working 14 hours a day on vol. 14 of The Story of Civilization and the Hannah M. Stone Memorial Lectures.
• TLS from Rev. W.J. Halliwell, 26 January 1941, “Philosophy is no place for war. `Sink your mediocrity into some organized excellence’. I suggest the Roman Catholic Church.”
• TLS from Rev. Charles L. Wallis to Will Durant, 18 May 1970, re permission to quote several lines from Durant’s work, with Durant’s signature on three sheets, 11 September 1970.
• TLS to Marylin ?, 9 July 1974, “working night and day on THE AGE OF NAPOLEON….”
• TLS to Jim [James Day, General Manager, KOED Channel 9, Bay Area Educational Television Association, San Francisco], 26 March 1975, re The Story of Civilization (“Take us in small doses…”), Day being a scholar and untheological gentleman, The Age of Napoleon to be published in September as a Book of the Month Club selection, Durant being 90 on 5 November (“pretty well petered out.”).
• TLS to Roy Pitts, 30 December 1979, thanks Pitts for his beautiful letter, sorry that Pitts has heart trouble (“Mine is forgivable, for it’s been beating for me for 94 years”), can’t find photos, harassed by answering 20 letters a day.
One B&w photo:
• The Durants in their study, n.d.
• The Philosophy of Herbert Spencer. Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Company, [1925?, probably later printing). Little Blue Book no. 772. Brownish cream wrappers, wire-stitched.
• 1 Custom postal cover hand-signed in ink, post-marked 24 July 1933, featuring original mixed media illustration by notable collector H.M. Brehm, San Diego, California.
• 1 Signed note, “Good luck from | Will Durant | 4-9-34”.
• 1 Note signed: “Good wishes from Will Durant”
• 1 Signed bookplate.
Collection on consignment with LDRB